Two nights I camp south of Tillamook, actually in Waldport, and one “Harvest Host” night in Tillamook; I’ll explain. I chose the Waldport/Newport KOA to allow me to view the Oregon coast and bird watch. The next day I checked out the coast and bird watched north of the KOA. I drove about 45 minutes from the campground stopping at numerous locations. Oregon State Parks provide many waysides, recreational parks and viewpoints for viewing the coast and/or access to the beach. I stopped at many of them!
Three places I saw birds, I did record birds into eBird. At Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, I saw the 1870’s oldest Oregon lighthouse and a harlequin duck. Unfortunately it is not breeding season so sort of drab looking bird. At Yachats State Park I saw a surf scoter. I mention these birds because they were new ones for me. There were plenty of other birds on my list for eBird. Look closely as the birds in the photos below are 2 different birds… the challenge of bird watching!
I love cheese and ice cream!
The next day I drove just under 2 hours to take a self-guided tour at Tillamook’s Creamery, Tillamook, Oregon. All visitors received 3 sample cheeses before watching the cheese business from start to finish. You literally are watching the employees at the various stations completing the make the cheese to packaging to shipping process. There is also a video explaining the ice cream making process. This company is 80 farming families, thus a farmer-owned co-op. My research indicates the local happy cows are a small part of the milk production. The many cows Tillamook needs are at a mega-dairy factory farm in eastern Oregon …hmmm … interesting. I did enjoy my chocolate chip ice cream.
What’s Harvest Host?
My next stop was Bay Ocean Peninsula Park to bird watch. I did see 2 new birds: 3 California gulls and 2 Pacific wrens. Then I headed to Blue Heron Cheese Factory. I told you I love cheese so I bought cheese curds and a mini camembert cheese, plus other items. Blue Heron Cheese Factory is a Harvest Host.
I bought an annual Harvest host membership. This allows me to park my van on their farm field, or at any reserved Harvest Host location, and spend the recommended $20 per stay which may be only allow a night or two. Campers must be self-contained. There is no water, electricity, septic, and you need to collect your grey water and cannot cook outdoors. Basically it is a place to park for the night inexpensively. I spent more than $20 by the time I bought cheese, clam chowder soup and half a sandwich. Blue Heron’s property had farm animals, old tractors, and plenty of grass to accommodate 50 campers. It was quiet during the night. The rooster crowed at 5:30am. No problem. I had a long drive the next day to begin my exploration of Washington’s Olympic National Park. I was on my way by 6:00am.
Another note about Harvest Host: the host may be a winery, brewery, church, alpaca farm, lavender farm, many places. The membership includes a great website to book a reservation at the last minute or schedule ahead. This was my first experience and it was a good one.